Every morning I whip up a green smoothie. It’s a great way to start my day after all, right? Filled with greens and superfoods, the nutrients can be easily absorbed in my system first thing in the AM. However, I always pause and wonder: Should I go for spinach or for kale? Those are the staple greens in my household and I find them easily interchangeable, but are they really?
Kale has been dubbed the magical leaf for a few years now. Being featured everywhere from your local, organic farm-to-table restaurant’s salads to Beyonce’s sweatshirt, this green seems to be the superstar and A-list celebrity of the vegetable world while spinach tends to gets the once-over. Should that really be the case?
We’re not going to tell you to ditch your kale. It’s an excellent source of protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and calcium, but spinach is a great source of these, too. As a matter of fact when it comes to Vitamin E, folate, iron, magnesium and potassium spinach actually beats kale out with a slightly higher amount.
In addition, there are some more things that spinach has that kale does not. What might that be? Essential amino acids. Kale actually supplies 0% of these 6 essential acids (arginine, cysteine, glycine, glutamine, proline and tyrosine) which are considered necessary in the human diet. Conversely, even just 1 cup of spinach actually contains a substantial amount of each! Just take a look at this side-by-side comparison of spinach and kale’s nutritional facts.
So, what to do now? Here’s what we recommend. If you’re making a smoothie or a green juice early in the morning, opt for the spinach. Getting such a boost in essential nutrients so early (and on an empty stomach) is a great way to start your day. Plus, spinach is virtually tasteless when combined with other sweeter ingredients, so you can sneak in your nutrients everyday without even realizing. However, we’re not quite ready to put down our farmer’s market haul of kale just yet. For lunch or dinner we’ll stick to the more filling option. Plus, there are so many healthy recipes that incorporate kale (from veggie lasagnas, creamed kale, and even kale desserts!) that we don’t want to give up probably now or ever.
As long as you are incorporating these two greens in your diet evenly, you should be feeling, looking, and being your best!
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